HEALTH -- At the Capitol Hill Cinema.
Why would responsible businessmen spend the enormous sum of money required to make a movie and then not spend the extra millions for the prints and advertising to release it in the theaters? Many reasons are given and charges made whenever this happens, and occasionally such a film gets out eventually and justifies the faith of its makers.
Why was Robert Altman's "Health," starring Lauren Bacall, Carol Burnett, Glenda Jackson, James Garner and Dick Cavett, killed in 1979 before being released? The curious will now be able to guess, because one of the few prints of it is being shown for a week at the Capitol Hill Cinema.
"Health" is about a convention of health nuts in Florida, featuring a contest between Lauren Bacall, as an 83-year-old virgin who goes around shouting "Feel yourself! Feel yourself!" and goes into a coma with a raised arm, and Glenda Jackson as a demagogue who has apparently had a sex change, from male to female, which left her a Lesbian.
Typical of its dialogue is the exchange when a proponent of breast-feeding says "We breasts may be small, but we are firm," and is told, "You are right. There can be no easy formulas."
Who would kill off such a picture before it even had a chance to succeed? Perhaps a responsible person who said, "Look, never mind the money down the drain and the famous people who put their time into it. We can't let this thing out in public. It's an embarrassment to everyone."